jeff rader

No Cell Towers On School Grounds Campaign – We Won!

no cell tower on school grounds

Statement from Get the Cell Out – Atl: Congratulations to everyone involved in every community who helped bring this subject to the forefront of their conversations and who held their elected officials accountable for their actions. And thank you to every person involved in this fight and similar battles taking place across the country. Your willingness to put yourself on the line in order to learn the truth and face skeptics should be an inspiration to others. We would never been able to stand up to the “system” here if there were not success stories of others who had faced the same Goliath, and won their battle before ours.

We appreciate Commissioner Rader and the entire DeKalb County Board of Commissioners for stepping up and taking on this fight against T Mobile while upholding the zoning code in our communities.

Regardless of any bad publicity you may have heard about our county commissioners,
they at least did the right thing for the communities they serve when they all signed a
letter to the CEO’s office, advising that any attempt to gain an “administrative permit”
instead of using the proper channels should be denied and our county’s zoning ordinances
should be upheld.

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If you have not educated yourself about the many adverse effects that have been documented about cell phone towers, please look over the many sources available on our website or email us with questions. A good source of information can also be found at the Center for Safer Wireless – http://thecenterforsaferwireless.us.

http://www.GetTheCellOutATL.org

Email:sayno2celltowers@yahoo.com

We also encourage everyone to thoroughly read the new zoning ordinance as suggested by Commissioner Rader and voice any feedback to the county commissioners and CEO’s office as soon as possible.

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Federal Judge Backs DeKalb on Denying Cell Tower Permits

In 2011, T-Mobile and the DeKalb Board of Education proposed to build cell towers on 11 school properties located in residential areas. Many citizens and parents organizations were concerned and asked DeKalb County to act. At the urging of Commissioner Kathie Gannon, the DeKalb Board of Commissioners wrote then CEO Ellis and asked that the administration refuse to issue building permits because the tower locations, while on school properties, are zoned residential, which does not permit cell phone towers. The cell tower company and the DeKalb School Board challenged the right of County government to enforce its zoning code on school properties. Recently Federal District Judge Thrash ruled that the County acted properly in refusing to issue the building permits.

“I’m pleased with the Federal Court ruling and that DeKalb enforced this protection of our neighborhoods,” said Gannon. “The cell towers will not be built on the school properties.”

The Commissioner can be reached: http://www.kathiegannon.com or email kgannon@dekalbcountyga.gov.

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Cell-phone Tower Update

One of the most pervasive signs of our mobile communications society is the proliferation of cell phone towers across the landscape. In DeKalb, the mobile communications revolution occurred after the widespread development of the landscape, so the infill installation of these structures has been perceived as intrusive in many residential neighborhoods. One recent decision and one pending regulation are relevant and noteworthy.

The recent noteworthy decision is the dismissal of a suit against DeKalb County by T-Mobile, a cellular provider. T-Mobile had sued DeKalb seeking a building permit for structures on two DeKalb County School System (DCSS) properties in District 2: Lakeside High School and Margaret Harris Comprehensive School. T Mobile had entered into a contract with DCSS seeking to invoke DCSS’s exemption from zoning regulation to erect the towers in residential districts where they are otherwise prohibited. Encouraged by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, the DeKalb County Administration declined to recognize the requested permits as exempt from zoning since the cell towers were not educational facilities. T-Mobile sued, but canceled their contract with DCSS after the Federal Courts ruled in favor of DeKalb. T-Mobile also paid DeKalb County court costs incurred in our defense.

The decision is important because it helps limit exemptions to zoning laws intended to protect neighborhoods from incompatible development. Governments (Federal, State, Local and Public Schools) retain this important prerogative, but it should only be exercised to directly advance their public mission, not simply to generate revenue.

The pending decision on the regulation of cell towers is in our new zoning ordinance, which will soon be considered by the Board of Commissioners. After considerable public input and a thorough investigation of relevant federal legislation, the current proposal would allow cellular antennas within or attached to nonresidential structures legally permitted in single-family neighborhoods. These would include houses of worship or other institutions that are legally permitted to be of sufficient height to make a cellular antenna attractive to a carrier. The new proposal would not allow the cell towers that were the object of the T-Mobile controversy.

The proposed policy turns on the inherent incompatibility of a free-standing antenna with a surrounding single family neighborhood, and not on the concerns that some citizens have about the radio waves generated by the antenna. This is important because federal communications regulations prohibit local regulation of cellular antennas based on radio wave concerns. We convened citizen stakeholders interested in this issue recently, who made suggestion on refining the policy for adoption. The new zoning ordinance can be found online at http://planningdekalb.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/finalDraftZoningCodeJan20151.pdf

The Commissioner can be reached at: http://www.commissionerrader.com or email, jrader@dekalbcountyga.gov.

DeKalb County Purchase Card (P-Card) Audit

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DeKalb County P-Card Audit

Mark Niesse and Johnny Edwards wrote an article titled, “Audit: Spending reports sloppy” on October 24, 2014 in the AJC newspaper. The front page article was an investigative piece, highlighting the results of a ten year audit of the Board of Commissioners, their office staff and the clerk’s office purchase card usage.

DeKalb County has been lax in its oversight of spending by elected commissioners, and some officials frequently paid for items on their government debit cards without submitting required receipts, according to an audit released Thursday.

The audit shows the seven commissioners used taxpayer funds to pay for everything from steakhouse dinners to speeding tickets…

The DeKalb commission submitted receipts for just 57% of the transactions. However, the Purchase Card (P-card) spending by commissioners includes (according to the AJC):

1. Elaine Boyer: $103,665 with 40 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244408986/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Elaine-Boyer

2. Jeff Rader: $34,606 with 77 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244409024/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Jeff-Rader

3. Larry Johnson: $78,757, with 97 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244409015/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Larry-Johnson

4. Sharon Barnes Sutton: $108,720, with 25 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244410962/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Sharon-Barnes-Sutton

5. Lee May: $57,283, with 39 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244408974/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Lee-May

6. Kathie Gannon: $26,327, with 97 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244409040/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Kathie-Gannon

7. Stan Watson: $57,937, with 78 percent supported by receipts
Review the actual audit at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/244408999/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Commissioner-Stan-Watson

The DeKalb County Purchase Card (P-Card) audit on the Central Office Administration and Clerks:
https://www.scribd.com/doc/244408960/DeKalb-County-P-Card-Audit-Central-Office-and-Clerks

For the entire article, view the link : http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/report-finds-loose-spending-by-dekalb-officials/nhqw7/

NOTE: Stay tuned for our take on this so-called audit. We have not done a complete review as of this date. However, a preliminary perusal of this report leave us with a lot of questions to be asked and answered.